January 8, 2008

Two curriculum documents revised
School Board members approved revisions to the social studies and family and consumer education curriculum documents.

Changes to the social studies curriculum – which encompasses geography, history, political science and citizenship, economics and behavior science – include:

  • A focus on global geography, especially east Asia, Africa and Latin America, in fifth grade;
  • Social studies unit plans for students in grades K-8 that identify the knowledge and skills, vocabulary, learning experiences, assessments and resources for each unit;
  • Addition of a research project in grades 5, 7 and 9 that addresses the research strands of the district’s information and technology literacy and writing curriculum. The classroom teacher, media specialist and writing-technology teacher will implement the project that culminates with a formal research paper.
  • Addition of “Advanced Placement European History” course.

The family and consumer education curriculum was revised to:

  • Emphasize the importance of nutrition and healthy lifestyle in the foods unit in middle school;
  • Include a personal finance unit in eighth grade;
  • Utilize technology at the middle school to access up-to-date information related to course content such as dietary guidelines, nutritional value of foods and age-appropriate economic information;
  • Offer transcripted credit for high school courses except “Foods”;
  • Offer “Fashion and Interior Design” beginning in 2009-10.

Course catalogs approved
Earlier in the meeting, the School Board approved course catalog changes that reflected some of the family and consumer education revisions. At the middle school, the seventh grade elective will emphasize nutrition, personal finance, family, life management and cooking. Sewing will not be included as a unit of study, but incorporated into projects and activities. At the high school, “Introduction to Hospitality/Food Service” will be added in 2008-09 and “Fashion and Interior Design” in 2009-10. “Foods Around the World” will be deleted. Also, “Child Guidance Exploratory” will be a transcripted course in which high school faculty teach Waukesha County Technical College’s curriculum.

Other high school additions were the Project Lead the Way courses of “Principals of Engineering” next year and “Digital Electronics” in 2009-10. In addition, “Physical Science” will be added to fulfill the required sophomore physical science requirement.

New Templeton site plan presented
Templeton Principal Patricia Polczynski reported on creation of the school’s third site place since 1997. She provided data that the site planning team reviewed including longitudinal state standardized test results, Measure of Academic Progress test scores, class comparisons, school enrollment and survey results from staff, students and parents.

Strengths were identified including strong standardized test scores in almost all content areas, overall high student achievement, supportive interventions for struggling students, enrichment opportunities for high-achieving students, consistent staff use of research-based instructional strategies, regular student achievement analysis, many co-curricular activities for student involvement and a positive and safe learning environment.

A “perplexing” concern for the school is its static test scores in language arts, according to Polczynski.

The site team created three tactics that action planning committees will address beginning next semester. They state that students will:

  • Increase literacy skills and competencies across all content areas;
  • Develop critical thinking, problem solving and creativity skills to become productive citizens in a global society; and
  • Increase their emotional intelligence and individual resiliency skills to be successful young adults..

School Board members reacted positively to the report.

“I think it’s important to realize how much this school has changed and how far we’ve come,” Gerald Schmitz said. “I feel very positive about what I see here.”

Earlier in the meeting, Polczynski and Associate Principal Brad Hoffmann were recognized because Templeton was named an exemplary school by the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators. Superintendent Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D., noted that having the recognition at the same meeting in which the site plan was given was timely and appropriate because staff at the school had worked hard to improve student achievement and learning.

Dawn Van Aacken said the tactics the team chose to address were strong and would help move the school forward.

EME continues to help students
The Early Mathematics Empowerment (EME) is continuing to serve young students in the district, and the School Board may see a request for additional staffing in the 2008-09 school year.

Educational Services Director Margaret Bauman, Ph.D., updated School Board members on the program that was implemented beginning in 2004-05 at Lannon Elementary School with a 40 percent teaching position. This year, staffing includes a 70 percent position at Lannon, Maple 70 percent, Marcy 40 percent and Woodside 100 percent.

The program is designed to serve first- and second-graders throughout the year and kindergartners during second semester by providing additional mathematics instruction that focuses on number concepts and number sense. EME teachers also work with classroom teachers to provide additional instructional strategies for all students and specific recommendations for students who are served by the program.

In 2006-07, 25 percent of first-graders and nine percent of second-graders were served. Some 92 percent of those students made significant gains over the time they received EME services.

The report concluded that the program should continue and be extended to serve more elementary students. School Board members commented that the resources invested in the program has been money well spent.

Board recognizes achievements
The School Board recognized the accomplishments of district staff members.

Woodside Elementary School physical education teacher Jackie Rottler was recognized for being awarded the Jump Rope for Heart/Hoops Educator of the Year Award from the Wisconsin Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (WAHPERD). The award honors excellence in teaching and an unselfish devotion, energy and interest in the health of children. Rottler has worked with Jump Rope For Heart/Hoops for 15 years and was a member of the Wisconsin State Task Force.

Templeton Middle School Principal Patricia Polczynski and Associate Principal Brad Hoffmann were recognized because their school was identified as “exemplary” by the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators. Superintendent Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D., said the award recognizes schools that go above and beyond in meeting the needs of students. She thanked the two school leaders for instilling a strong focus on improving student achievement.

Personnel matters
In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • Accepted the retirement request of Hamilton High School communication arts teacher James Penn; and
  • Appointing David Wolter as a Hamilton special services paraprofessional and Renee Mysliwski as the Summer Opportunities assistant coordinator..